How Your Dentist Can Help Your Sleep Apnea
You have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. You hesitate to use the CPAP machine from your sleep physician. Is there an alternative treatment? Yes, there is, and it's available from Dental Wellness of Lexington. Both Dr. Anthony Feck and Dr. Maxie Combs are members of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine They offer qualified patients oral appliance therapy to counter sleep apnea. Read here about how these Lexington, KY, dentists could help you.
Just what is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea affects up to 20 percent of American adults, advises the National Sleep Foundation. What does this sleep disorder involve? Basically, people stop, or cease, breathing periodically when they sleep at night or nap during the day. They repeatedly awaken, gasping for air, and exhibit other symptoms such as:
- Extremely loud and persistent snoring
- Daytime sleepiness
- Poor concentration ("brain fog")
Besides these symptoms, sleep apnea has far reaching health effects such as diabetes, memory issues, dementia, high blood pressure and more.
Sleep apnea falls into three categories, namely:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, where the soft tissues at the back of the throat relax and cover the airway as the person sleeps
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) in which the brain does not signal the respiratory system to take a breath
- Mixed Sleep Apnea, which is a combination of the above two
This dangerous sleep disorder happens more to men (by a ratio of two to one) than to women. Age (over 40) and being overweight factor into the diagnosis, too.
People who suspect they have this sleep disorder should speak to their primary care physicians who often refer to sleep physicians for definitive diagnoses by in-depth sleep studies.
A common treatment
Sleep physicians often prescribe CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, machines to combat sleep apnea, particularly when the diagnosis is CSA. A bedside CPAP machine is used at night to deliver a steady airflow through a nasal mask to the wearer. This air keeps the airway open, stopping most episodes of sleep apnea.
However, some people find CPAP therapy intolerable. They dislike the mask and the bulky, claustrophobic feeling it can create. The machines can be noisy, require diligent cleaning and present travel problems.
How your Lexington, KY, dentist can help
Oral appliance therapy offers a great alternative to CPAP. Dr. Feck and Dr. Combs prescribe customized acrylic devices which fit comfortably inside the mouth. Resembling sports mouth guards, oral appliances are worn whenever a patient sleeps. An oral appliance positions the lower jaw in a more forward position and thus keeps the airway open and functioning. Snoring is greatly reduced as are the episodes of apnea and startling awake.
Do you qualify?
Why not come to Dental Wellness of Lexington for a consultation? Your dentist will discuss your sleep apnea diagnosis with you and show you how an oral appliance could help you have better sleep and better overall health. Call today: (859) 223-4644.